President Trump ‘extremely upset’ with Obama’s Australia refugee deal: White House
President Donald Trump is ‘extremely upset’ with the refugee deal with Australia, the White House has said.
Briefing the media here on Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, however, indicated that the administration will go ahead with the agreement but with ‘extreme vetting’ of every immigrant.
Lashing out at the erstwhile Obama-administration for the move, the official said that ‘the President was unbelievably disappointed to have inherited the deal’.
"The President is unbelievably disappointed in the previous administration's deal that was made and how poorly it was crafted and the threat it put on US national security," Spicer.
Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull had on Wednesday said that Trump had committed to the agreement to accept 1,250 refugees who are lodged in offshore detention centres on the Pacific nations of Nauru and Papua New Guinea.
The US President had abruptly ended his now-infamous phone call to Turnbull after their disagreement on the issue reportedly left him unhappy. True to character, he then took to Twitter to describe the agreement as a ‘dumb deal’.
"He (Trump) has tremendous respect for the PM and the Australian people and has agreed to continue to review that deal and to ensure that as part of the deal, was always part of it, that we would go through a very, very extreme vetting process to ensure that every single person that is being
offered up is coming here with peaceful intentions and poses no threat to the United States," the White House official said.
"So he has ensured that while he has respect for the Australian people and respect for PM Turnbull, that we do not pose a threat to the US, that the deal that he was cut by the last administration is something that he is extremely, extremely upset with. He does not like it," Spicer added.
At an event, Trump told reporters that one must respect a step taken by the previous administration, but added in the same breath that it could also be questioned.
"A previous administration does something, you have to respect that but you could also say, why are we doing this? That's why we're in the jams that we're in," he said.
"We had one instance in Australia, I have a lot of respect for Australia, I love Australia as a country but we had a problem where for whatever reason President Obama said that they were going to take probably well over 1,000 illegal immigrants who were in prisons and they were going to bring them and take them into this country and I just said 'why?'," he said.
"'Why are we doing this? What's the purpose?' So we'll see what happens," the US President said.
"We have some wonderful allies but we're going to keep it that way but we have to be treated fairly also. We have to be treated fairly," Trump said.
The US has a program developed by the Obama administration: People fleeing violence in Central America are being hosted in Costa Rica while their refugee applications are processed. The agreement was made after more than 100,000 Central American asylum seekers arrived in the US in 2015, a fivefold increase from just a few years prior. Those camps are expected to host about 200 pre-screened people at a time, while they await resettlement approval by the US or other countries.
Australia's system is much more aggressive. They intercept boats carrying asylum seekers and ship their passengers to offshore detention facilities -- one in a tiny Pacific island state called Nauru, and one on an island in Papua New Guinea. Australia has said about 1,600 people are currently detained in the Pacific facilities.
Conditions there are dire, and the asylum seekers are imprisoned until a country agrees to take them, which Australia has promised it will never do.